Karibean Cruising


July 12, 2015 by loscobos12


I never expected to feel empathy for One Direction, but as we left Victoria Falls and headed for the hills, the legions of young screaming fans who surrounded us were evidence of the fact that Zayn Malik and co have absolutely nothing on us.


Shot in the dark

The town of Siabuwa marked not only the last guaranteed shop for almost 400km, but also (according to the man himself) the admittedly obscure birthplace and residence of the latest incarnation of the Messiah. Bethlehem it was not, so we assumed he was merely a very naughty boy, and stocked up on food. With tales of miracles ringing in our ears and a metric tonne of ginger nuts rattling in our panniers, we headed into the unknown.


A massive (baobab) fruit


Eventually, as we reached more and more remote locations, the reactions of the children went from fascination to terror, as they fled before the (fairly grubby) white monsters on their iron horses.


Spot the odd one out

The culmination of this phenomenon came as we were descending a particularly sandy slope behind a cart pulled by two donkeys. Its driver, hearing us approach, turned round and passed clean out at the sight of us, tumbling over the side of the cart before being run over by the rear wheel. Worried (and slightly offended) that the mere sight of us might have killed a man, we stopped to administer first aid.


Sun, sand and saddle sores

His parents soon arrived on the scene and, full of paternal concern, his father stepped straight over his son’s prone body and ran to catch the donkeys. The mother, meanwhile, began to administer aid in the shape of a modest beating. Seeing our concern, she explained with the simple words “drinking beer” that her son had been partaking in a practice known in Yorkshire as “the old five and drive”.


Pumping iron


Zimbabwe itself is fairly out of the way for most of us, and after several hundred kilometres of turning onto ever smaller roads and dirt tracks, we reached places that can only really be described by their GPS co-ordinates. The last signs of human habitation ended, and all that was left were the baboons, which barked and fled as we rode.


Zebra crossing


Sweating like a pair of Greek economists, we made our way tortuously up climbs which required levels of both brute force and concentration normally only found in the hybrid sport of chess-boxing. On the descents, the surface was so bad that our progress was painfully slow, with the notable exception of one occasion which, as a bruised hip and some light road rash are testament, was painfully fast.


Taking a snap


A mildly peckish hippo

Finally, we arrived on the shores of Lake Kariba, where we have spent a relaxing day paddling with hippos, chasing crocodiles, and hoping that the elephant which has been roaming our campsite doesn’t manage to accidentally stub a toe on our tent or bicycles.


Heads or tails?

8 thoughts on “Karibean Cruising

  1. Robert Gardiner says:

    Sounds fun but take care. I seriously hope you didn’t paddle. When I was there bilharzia was endemic in all S African water’s edges except for Lake Malawi. Plus the “flat dogs” were getting very aggressive. Robert G (other one, that is).

    • gardiner12 says:

      Andrew paddled, but he is already well acquainted with parasites. What are “flat dogs”? I saw one on the road yesterday, but that one wasn’t in any state to be aggressive.

  2. Bob says:

    Halfway? Had a Warmshowers visit from a lovely Dutch couple referred by you I think Rob! Looks like you are having a great time. Enjoy.


    • gardiner12 says:

      Glad to be of service! I was gutted to have missed out on hosting my first Warmshowers guest. Did you also have a Japanese guy stay with you recently? We passed halfway somewhere in Zimbabwe; have around 2,000 km left now.

  3. Raphie says:

    Andrew…. When is this going to end!!!!? I can’t believe this is actually where you are. You are such an adventurous little shit! It does make for a very interesting read though, I have to say. Don’t get eaten by a lion please, that would be so annoying. Love Raph. X

    • gardiner12 says:

      Don’t worry about lions. A slow death via bilharzia or tuberculosis is far more likely.

    • loscobos12 says:

      Thanks, I guess? Maybe you should try it sometime, get Ed some exercise. Glad you’re enjoying the blog, I look forward to getting berated further by you at the wedding…

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